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International Journal of Environment Science and Technology
Center for Environment and Energy Research and Studies (CEERS)
ISSN: 1735-1472
EISSN: 1735-2630
Vol. 11, No. 5, 2014, pp. 1343-1352
Bioline Code: st14131
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

International Journal of Environment Science and Technology, Vol. 11, No. 5, 2014, pp. 1343-1352

 en Field-scale evaluation of the chemical–biological stabilization process for the remediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soil
Adams, R.H.; Guzmán-Osorio, F.J. & Domínguez-Rodríguez, V.I.

Abstract

Developing countries face the challenge of growing their economy while reducing the negative environmental impacts of industry, thus requiring treatment technologies that are economical and effective. One recent technology developed in the tropical part of Mexico for the remediation of petroleum-contaminated soil was tested in this scale-up project at an industrial level, whereas previously it had only been tested at laboratory scale; 150 m3 of bentonitic mud, contaminated with weathered hydrocarbons (3.4° API) at ~50,000 ppm, was treated with 4 % Ca(OH)2, 4 % organic amendment, and a fine-root tropical grass. Hydrocarbons in soil and in leachates, as well as pH, and acute toxicity (Microtox) were monitored for 28.8 months. At the end of the study, basal respiration, root density, and earthworm toxicity were also measured. The hydrocarbon concentration in soil was reduced to 45 %, and toxicity was eliminated. Hydrocarbons in leachates were reduced to ~1 mg/l, safe for human consumption. The pH adjustment depended on low soil moisture and was stabilized at 7.1. Intense revegetation resulted in good root density, within 90 % of nearby uncontaminated soil under pasture. Basal respiration was increased to levels comparable to uncontaminated tropical soils with agricultural use, pasture and gallery forest. At an industrial scale, strict moisture control was necessary for good pH stabilization. By controlling these conditions and applying this novel treatment process, it was possible to transform a heavily contaminated geological material into a non-toxic, fertile, soil-like substrate capable of maintaining a complete vegetative cover and microbial activity comparable to similar soils in a tropical environment.

Keywords
Appropriate technology; Leachates; Restoration; Total petroleum hydrocarbons; Tropics; Vegetative cover

 
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